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February Alumni Spotlight Taylor Willis

Taylor Willis, Doctor of Occupational Therapy student, University of Mary and Boise State Alum

Taylor describes herself as a people person that is self-driven and fun.

Taylor graduated from Boise State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science Studies General Health Emphasis and a minor in Psychology in May of 2018.  Taylor was a Jim Plumtree Pre-Occupational Therapy scholar during her time at Boise State University.  An Ellensburg, WA native she is completing her Doctor of Occupational Therapy at the University of Mary in North Dakota in April 2021 and would like to share her experience at Boise State, current career, and profession. Some of the opportunities that Taylor participated in were being a resident assistant, working as a Student Recruitment Specialist in Admissions, and volunteering at Complete Hospice.

Below are a few questions and Taylor’s responses:

What is it like being an Occupational Therapy Student during a pandemic?

It takes a great deal of flexibility and creativity to ensure I receive a quality clinical and academic experience. However, many health professionals as well as my instructors are dealing with this unknown too so appreciating all that the staff does for you is important. As a medical professional, there will always be a need so although it looks different, students are still learning and becoming better practitioners.

What do you think was the most important experience you had at Boise State?

Being a resident assistant was a great opportunity to better my understanding of inclusivity and diversity which has only benefitted my professional schooling. I feel as though it improved my interpersonal skills but more specifically my therapeutic use of self and connecting with all patients.

What resources did you use at Boise State to prepare you for your medical career?

I utilized academic and career services for interview prep as well as formatting my resume prior to applying. I heavily utilized tutoring as well as instructional centers for science and math-based courses. I also completed advising every semester to ensure I was on the path I needed to be on.

Do you think Boise State prepared you for your professional school career?

Boise State offers a great deal of support and resources that when utilized truly prepared me for my career. Academically, I felt as though the class material aligned well with what I learned in OT school as well. This paired with my initiated outside of classroom experiences (volunteer, observing, work experience, etc.) truly gave me a great idea as to what I would be doing as an OT.

What would you tell yourself now knowing what you know now about applying to occupational therapy school?

The professional program truly cares about who you are as a person so developing your resume and experiences around yourself is the best advice. Also, everyone’s timeline is different and the choice between gap year vs. going straight into grad school is your own. Respect your journey and stay persistent! I wouldn’t be an OT if I didn’t live by that motto!

What do you wish you would have known before becoming an occupational therapy student?

You’re not supposed to know everything! You’re not supposed to be perfect in the documentation, patient interaction, or treatment planning. I just finished both of my 12-week clinical’s and I was still receiving feedback from my educator and asking questions my last week. But to be a successful student you need to understand and embrace those gaps in knowledge because if you don’t you will never learn.

Taylor is currently working on her capstone project here at Boise State University and will be hosting some useful workshops that can help you be successful here at Boise State and after. Would you like to learn more from Taylor Willis please email her at or come to one of her amazing workshops in February.